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Category Archives: cancer

You and Marijuana: The Common Ground

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http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/addiction/cannabis/

What do you and marijuana (weed, pot, grass, ganga, dope, herb, joint, blunt, cannabis, reefer, mary jane, buds, stinkweed) have in common?

Both the marijuana plant and the human body contain cannabinoid chemicals  that affect well-being. Our bodies have a cannabinoid system (named after the active compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the marijuana plant, Cannabis sativa). This system may work similarly to the traditional eastern philosophy of yin and yang where opposite forces are complimentary and create balance because cannabinoids seem to act as a “bridge” between mind and body, http://norml.org/library/item/introduction-to-the-endocannabinoid-system.

The cannabinoid system (CS) which includes natural chemicals (THC, CBD), receptors (CB1 and CB2)  and fat cells work to maintain harmony for health via 4 main routes, through:

  1. presynaptic neuronal (a neuron from the axon terminal of which an electrical impulse is transmitted across a synaptic cleft to the cell body or one or more dendrites of a postsynaptic neuron by the release of a chemical neurotransmitter.) chemical messages responsible for communication between cells that affect organs like the heart, the brain and consciousness, the gut and appetite; how we feel emotion and sense pain, how we sleep, move and even exercise, http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/38/5/536.full, as it may play a role in “the runners high” and “the body’s response to exercise” due to its relationship with dopamine.
  1. its complex role affecting a cells life in its entirety; maintaining a steady balance in all stages of cellular development (synthesis, degradation and recycling of cellular products).
  1. the endocannabinoid system itself with its intricate involvement in the helping to “bridge” the gap between consciousness and physical health.
  1. neurogenesis (the growth and development of nervous tissue) and neuronal plasticity (allows the nerve cells in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in the environment) enabling one to overcome trauma or push past physical limitations for example.

Twenty states have legalized the medical use of marijuana. According to The Business Insider, http://www.businessinsider.com/health-benefits-of-medical-marijuana-2014-4, there are over 20 medical benefits to smoking pot including:

  • ADD
  • Glaucoma
  • Anxiety
  • Lung capacity
  • Gut function
  • Immune responses
  • Combination drug therapies
  • Auto immune disorders
  • Pain relief
  • PTSD
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Chron’s disease
  • Alzheimers’ disease

One of the most important findings for health, it seems, may be that marijuana has been shown to help kill certain types of cancer cells and reduce the size of others, http://mct.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2014/11/12/1535-7163.MCT-14-0402.abstract or just read, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141114085629.htm.

In fact the FDA (Federal Drug Administration) holds patents on two drugs in pill form containing cannabinoids that act to stimulate appetite for AIDS patients and help prevent nausea related to cancer treatments. An oil form is also currently under investigation for pediatric epilepsy.

While I do believe that marijuana may help to balance an unhealthy or an “in need of repair” health condition, there can be negative side effects especially if it is overused or abused by someone who does not have this similar “need”.

Smoking too much grass can be addictive and have negative mental health and societal consequences.

Marijuana has potential to be a safe, effective and powerful solution to illness that will aid in fighting against disease and promote the bodies’ own natural healing abilities.

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2015 in cancer, health, Marijuana

 

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Acrylamide: A Carcinogen You May Want To Know About

Acrylamide is a “natural” chemical that has been classified as a carcinogen and it can be absorbed through the skin, inhaled or ingested. Despite this “cancer causing label” and its association with nerve damage, skin irritation and possibly reproductive health, acrylamide is used for many purposes ranging from building materials and auto parts to ink and adhesive tape. Acrylamide has been found in municipal drinking water, dental and hair products, soaps/creams and make-up. Here’s some background from the World Health Organizations, www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/chem/acrylamide_june2002/en/index.html

Interestingly enough acrylamide is “naturally” formed when foods that contain both asparagine (an amino acid/protein) and sugar (or carbohydrate) are fried, grilled or baked at temperatures higher than 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooked potatoes and cereal products have been identified as having high levels of acrylamide. For example, french fries contain high amounts of acrylamide for three reasons:

1. high amounts of aspargine
2. starch/carbohydrates
3. high heat cooking temperatures

I continually hear about the health implications associated with eating fat, or carbohydrates and avoiding meat because of the fat content. When you hear about food and how it affects health remember it’s not always so simple. You need all 3 factors (asparagine, starch, high heat) to form the carcinogen acrylamide. Sweden seems to have taken the lead on this and I found a list of foods (crackers, cereal, waffles, pizza etc…) that were measured to determine the amount of acrylamide they contain, www.mindfully.org/Food/Acrylamide-Heat-Processed-Foods26apr02.htm.

Whether you are trying to eat more healthy or if there is a history of cancer in your family you may want to avoid foods that contain  higher levels of acrylamide.

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2010 in Breast cancer, cancer, cooking

 

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Carbohydrates and Starchy Foods Linked to Cancer?

Last week, I talked about the dietary guidelines committee and the recommendations that continue to be pretty much the same as they have been for too many years now. I’m beginning to think that they are not experts so much as they are puppets.

 When there is valid research suggesting a link between starchy and sugary foods and cancer, the public should be made aware and guidelines should be made that take into account all research not just the ones that fit a certain political agenda. What does politics have to do with food?  The grain industry has a lot to lose if recommendations and consumer purchasing shifts. And as suggested by the research, it should.  

If anyone knows how breads, cereals and other commercially processed foods landed the bottom (largest amount of servings) of the pyramid let me know.

Here’s the research, why has there not been more research to at least follow up on this. If I’ve missed it please someone send it to me:

  •  “Food Groups and Risk of Colon Cancer”  Int J Cancer. 1997 Jul 3;72(1):56-61 (FYI, there are more recent studies but this one was specific to food groups so I figured you’d want to see this one.)

                   Foods that increased risk of colon cancer in order of highest risk: bread, cereal, potato, cake/dessert and refined sugar…yep you read correctly bread, cereal and potato were the worst culprits  

                  One serving of vegetables lowered colon cancer risk by 20%. Fruit and fish were also found to lower risk.

                 Eggs and meat had no effect on colon cancer.

 

  • Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that “sucrose and fructose” (sugar not fat) had the strongest association with breast cancer.  

             Mike Adams, the Health Ranger and Editor of NaturalNews.com    wrote about this study and its worthwhile reading. He reports that “57% or more of total energy intake from carbohydrates showed a 220% higher risk of breast cancer than women with more balanced diets”,  http://www.naturalnews.com/001812.html

Aren’t government recommendations for carbohydrates 50-60% of your diet?

 

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For All The Soda Drinkers (Part II)

Both adults and children drink soda. Studies show that:
• over 60% of adults who drink at least one soda a day are overweight or obese.
• More children and adolescents drink soda than adults (41 percent of children, 62 percent of adolescents and 24 percent of adults).

So I thought you might find it interesting to understand how soda affects you.

WARNING: The material below may contain material that is alarming but definitely worth reading. The information gives you a better understanding of why it is important to understand the foods and ingredients you put into your body. You miss the boat if you only pay attention to calories, fat or carbohydrates.

How can soda affect your health and weight?

1. Both citric acid and phosphoric acid affects blood PH and natural stomach acid secretions interfering with digestion, increasing risk of kidney stones, yeast overgrowth and bowel disease and leaching calcium from bone (especially teeth, spine, pelvis) causing weak bones and mineral imbalances.

2. Caffeine is a diuretic that can facilitate vitamin/mineral depletion, dehydration, fertility issues, sleep problems, anxiety, irritability, and depression.

3. Excess sugar leads to excess calories, increased weight and blood sugar problems like diabetes. Research studies also support a link with the following health hazards:

a. Pancreatic cancer: University of Minnesota conducted a study with individuals who drank approximately two regular sodas/day. The conclusion was that there was an 87% higher chance of having cancer than those who drank beverages without sugar/corn syrup.

b. Diabetes and heart disease: At the American heart association’s Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention Annual Cardiology Conference there was a presentation by a professor from the University of California, San Francisco who made the association of approximately 200,000 new cases of diabetes and heart disease/year with soda drinkers.

c. Immune system: sugar has also been shown to lower the immune system due to damage of white blood cells.

4. Artificial sweeteners can lead to eating more because they do not provide the calories to signal to your body that it is satisfying your hunger. They breakdown to methanol and formaldehyde affecting the immune and nervous system and may even be involved in destroying brain neurons leading to headaches/migraines, nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue with an inability to fall asleep. Other associated symptoms include vision problems, anxiety attacks, depression, and asthma/chest tightness. Recently diet soda, like regular soda, was linked to a 50 percent higher risk of metabolic syndrome — a cluster of risk factors such as excessive fat around the waist, low levels of “good” cholesterol, high blood pressure and other symptoms.

5. Sodium can throw off electrolyte balance. Sodium benzoate is a preservative in many foods. The combination of sodium benzoate and vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in soda can react to form benzene. The major health effects of benzene include damage to bone marrow and decreases in red blood cells, leading to anemia. It can cause damage to DNA. Damage to DNA will contribute to aging and neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s. Benzene is known to lead to cancer in both animals and humans.

6. Caramel color may suppress the immune system and has been linked to increase blood pressure.

So you see with all the attention focused on calories, fat and carbs, all these other harmful ingredients fall under the radar. And while most experts insist on scratching the surface by focusing on calories, I will urge you to dig a little deeper and really get a handle on the big picture—all the elements of a food or beverage product that can affect your health.

If you have any questions about what you are really eating and drinking, let me know and we can share it to help make the world a healthier place.

 

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Fats: Essential Nutrients For You

Many of us have been brainwashed into thinking that eating fat automatically translates into a fat body. This is not true. And there are too many people who cut fat out of their diet and suffer consequences that they may not attribute to cutting fat from their diet.

1. Loss of motivation to lose weight because eating too many calories from carbohydrates can interfere with weight loss.

2. Inability to lose weight because fat helps keep you full. Cutting out fats and eating more carbohydrates can cause people to experience an increase in cravings/appetite.

3. Contribute to hormonal imbalances associated with a lack of fat and excess insulin production due to eating more carbohydrates(infertility, PCOS, yeast overgrowth).

4. Increase health concerns that have been associated with high triglycerides (heart disease), high insulin (diabetes, cancer, metabolic syndrome and many more).

5. Lower stores of fat soluble vitamins and minerals that contribute to healthy skin, hair and nails. 

Fats are essential nutrients that enable our bodies to work efficiently. Here are just some of the benefits fat provides, healthnews.ediets.com/diet-weight-loss/the-facts-on-fat.html

So enjoy real food that provides healthy fat for a healthy you! My book , “The Stubborn Fat Fix” can guide you to make better food choices and help you bring balance to your way of eating.

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Dealing With Diabetes and Depression: You Are Not Alone

There are so many topics about diabetes that can be covered, I could stay on this topic and never have to write about anything else. I am going to cover two more topics (depression and readiness to change) that are extremely important to good health and diabetes and then move on to other topics. However, I will continue to weave diabetes into my blog and answer any comments or questions you may have.

Being diagnosed with diabetes, any medical illness or emotionally traumatizing event should automatically trigger the waving of a yellow “support” flag. All too often we are diagnosed with a physical illness such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer and we rush to treat the physical problem. We forget about the emotional and psychological component of being, or having a loved one, diagnosed with a life altering condition. Everyone at some time in their life experiences depression and if you are diagnosed with a medical condition or you experience horrific situations as a soldier or you are a victim of crime or an accident, you are likely to experience some form of depression. Even new moms are prone to postpartum depression. Heck just getting older is enough to start thinking the worst. No matter what the reason. Please know you are not alone.

Over the course of one year, approximately 19 million adults will experience depression. Twenty-five to fifty percent of people who are diagnosed with a chronic illness are also likely to suffer from depression, http://www.cmha.bc.ca/resources/bc_resources/depconcurrent/.
Here are some of the stats for those who are diagnosed with a medical condition and who suffer with depression:

Postpartum depression: 10-20%
Cancer: 42%
Heart disease: 18-26%
Diabetes: 33%
Multiple sclerosis: 6-60%
Parkinson’s disease: 40%
Stroke: 30-50%
Substance abuse: 50%

Your mind is critical to overcoming diabetes (or any illness) and the health conditions associated with it. Accepting and becoming actively involved in caring for diabetes is the most important part of treating high blood sugar. Denial is easy, especially with diabetes because you can walk around and function as if you did not have any illness at all, well that’s until diabetes catches up with you. No one knows that you feel tired, your vision is blurry, or your thirst is unquenchable. In fact many people can perform daily tasks and walk around with high blood sugar levels without realizing they have diabetes.

However, when you throw a monkey wrench into the mix, namely depression, your ability to care for yourself is diminished despite the need for consistent self-care. Here’s a quick resource to help identify depression and get appropriate help, http://www.diabetes.org/type-2-diabetes/depression.jsp, http://spectrum.diabetesjournals.org/content/17/3/167.full. If you follow this link, http://www.cmha.bc.ca/resources/bc_resources/depconcurrent/, see “Depression and Diabetes”. You’ll see the relationship between diabetes and depression and how debilitating the two co-existing conditions can be. They describe diabetes and depression as, “A vicious cycle that makes both your diabetic and depressive conditions worse. Knowing about this cycle is half the battle: depression => lack of motivation => poor management of diabetes => high blood sugar levels => greater fatigue and lethargy => worsened mood => further depression.”

Understand the signs and symptoms of depression, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diabetes-and-depression/AN02011, http://diabetes.about.com/od/preventingcomplications/qt/depression.htm, and work with a mental health professional to get you on track and help develop strategies for dealing with depression and its impact on your day-to-day life, http://www.helpguide.org/mental/treatment_strategies_depression.htm.

 

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Insulin Lurks As An Underlying Cause to Many of Your Health Concerns

The link between insulin, diabetes and breast cancer is not the only health concern we should worry about. Insulin’s association with the manifestation and prognosis of these risk factors and diseases has been shown time and time again:

1. colon cancer
2. prostate cancer
3. pancreatic cancer
4. breast cancer
5. diabetes
6. metabolic syndrome
7. obesity
8. high blood pressure (kidney damage)
9. congestive heart failure
10. high levels of triglycerides (liver damage)
11. low HDL (good) cholesterol (liver damage)
12. heart disease
13. high C-reactive protein levels (heart disease)
14. polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
15. inflammation
16. infertility
17. aging, common characteristics of those who live the longest include low normal values for:
• fasting insulin levels
• fasting glucose
• triglycerides
• body fat found around your organs, typically you carry weight around the mid-section of your body

High insulin levels affect children too! Here are risk factors associated with high insulin levels and diseases that are common in children who are overweight.

1. overweight
2. diabetes
3. metabolic syndrome
4. high homocysteine levels (a risk factor for heart disease and stroke)
5. high LDL (bad cholesterol)
6. non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
7. acanthosis nigricans (a brown or black velvety color to the skin).

If the information is out there, ever wonder why the smart guys making big money do not focus on this? Me too, the bottom line for early detection of the illnesses mentioned above is to speak with your doctor about checking insulin levels (fasting and after you eat along with a glucose tolerance test) at routine visits. Eat low carbohydrate/low glycemic foods that will help keep insulin levels low.

 

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